SoundWaters, the region’s leader in climate science education, has received a Congressionally directed grant of $361K to train the climate stewards of tomorrow.
“Everyone at SoundWaters is extremely grateful to Senator Chris Murphy, Senator Richard Blumenthal, and Congressman Jim Himes for their invaluable support at this critical juncture. Climate science education today is essential to Connecticut’s future resilience. The more we invest in our children’s understanding of the remarkable world around us, the better prepared they will be to meet the challenges of our time,” said SoundWaters President Leigh Shemitz. “For all of us, connecting to the natural world through Long Island Sound strengthens our bonds as a community.”
The grant to SoundWaters will fund its climate preparedness program, which reaches 4,000 public school students in Stamford, Norwalk and Bridgeport. SoundWaters’ teaching emphasizes hands-on, outdoor engagement amid the varied habitats of the Sound, including learning aboard the Schooner SoundWaters as well as in extensive lab facilities at its two Stamford waterfront locations. The organization provides educational programs for students in grades 1-12 throughout the year.
Reflecting SoundWaters’ commitment to environmental equity, the grant will also support broad and diverse participation in its programming. Ongoing work with the Stamford, Norwalk and Bridgeport school districts will help SoundWaters offer direct experience with the Sound to a wider array of students. For example, in addition to other forms of financial subsidy, SoundWaters will be able to assist school groups with the cost of bus transportation, which can otherwise present a barrier to inclusion.
“The work SoundWaters is doing to educate the next generation about our planet and the impact of climate change is so important to our efforts to create resilient communities. I’m proud we were able to secure funding to support community-based initiatives like this in our state. I hope students in Connecticut will use the knowledge they gain from these programs to help protect our coastline and ensure our state is a great place to live for years to come,” said Senator Murphy.
Given the scope of its programs, SoundWaters has the opportunity to deepen students’ understanding over time. Sessions for elementary school learners focus on observation of the natural world, through topics such as habitats and adaptation. Middle school students build on this foundation through programming centered on stewardship activities and the concept of resilience. High school students in the Research Intensive program work on long-term research projects to develop the field and lab skills of a climate scientist.
“SoundWaters provides students across our City and region with a multitude of opportunities to experience environmental programming and hands-on learning,” said Stamford Mayor Caroline Simmons. “The Long Island Sound is one of our greatest resources and I want to thank Senator Blumenthal, Senator Murphy, and Congressman Himes for their continued support of environmental education.”
For more information, visit soundwaters.org.